Just a few weeks ago, TeachStrong burst upon the scene, declaring itself ready to lift up the teaching profession with its nine steps of teacher swellness.
TS represented an odd assortment of groups, apparently led by the Center for American Progress and including such strange bedfellows as NEA and TFA, AFT and EducationPost. What could these groups answer together? How should we train teachers? Do we love public schools? In fact the whole thing had a random, cobbled-together look right up to the point that any observer asked, "Which of you groups would like to back Hillary Clinton for President" at which point a new spirit of unanimity entered the room.
Well, it's only getting weirder. CAP announced that ten more groups have signed on, including DFER and Education Reform Now (two arms of the same nominally-Dem reformy octopus), the Albert Shanker Institute, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
DFER is the most surprising entry, as DFER and their head honcho Whitney Tilson have not been subtle in their belief that teachers generally suck more than ever before and that evil, stinky teachers unions are a huge obstacle to making schools great. (You can find both ideas in this slide show and peppered throughout Tilson's blog).
Remember that scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier where Cap is in an elevator, and as it stops at each floor, it fills up with more and more people who are there to kick his ass? I wonder if the wise union leaders who signed us up for TeachStrong are starting to feel like that yet.
I do not know what TeachStrong's actual agenda is, other than pushing a blandly vague education-flavored agenda that it hopes to inject into the election (by way of any particular candidate, do you think?) But whatever it's about, it becomes increasingly obvious that NEA and AFT have no reason and no excuse to be involved. If they can team up with CAP and DFER while prematurely endorsing Clinton, it would seem that there is absolutely nobody that the unions would call out for destructive anti-public ed, anti-teacher, anti-teacher union policies-- as long as those people call themselves Democrats.